Coalition vows $200m for teacher rewards

A coalition government will establish a $200 million reward fund to recognise Australia’s best and brightest teachers, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced.

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Every school in Australia will be eligible to apply for money from the Better Teacher Reward Fund for the sole purpose of paying their teachers more judiciously and paying them more.

“Preference will be given to teachers in disadvantaged schools, schools with a higher proportion of special needs students and schools located in regional areas,” he said at the Nunawading Christian College, east of Melbourne, on Friday.

A coalition government will also commit $120 million towards the establishment of a school technology fund.

This would provide grants for the technology improvement needed to enhance educational outcomes in schools.

These grants will support new and future teaching and learning approaches including the integration of ICT and multimedia technologies.

Grants approved through the fund will be paid directly to schools.

“This will avoid state government bureaucracies and help ensure that the money provided makes a difference and that value is obtained where it is needed,” Mr Abbott said.

“Schools will be able to decide what they need and determine the best way they can get value for money.”

While the needs of each school are likely to vary, grants of up to $50,000 will be available through the fund.

Mr Abbott said an independent board would decide which teachers deserved a bonus, and how much it would be, based on the recommendations of school principals.

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said the fund was better than Labor’s scheme because it would start a year earlier in 2013.

If the board decided every outstanding teacher should receive the same amount, they would get between about $6000 to $6500 a year.

“They might well decide to pay less for some teachers and more for others, depending on how they determine the best quality teachers in a particular year,” Mr Pyne said.

“It starts earlier, which means the same teacher, if they are rewarded for a couple of years, would receive more under the coalition than the Labor Party in those two years.”

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